Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Film Slave

I am a slave to film.  Why?  I don't really know where or why or how it all started but the course is set and here we are. What I do know is that for the next several years I have decided to dedicate myself to the goal of collecting 600 on-set call sheet days as a production assistant (PA), the lowest ranking member of the totem poll, until finally I can one day apply to the Directors Guild of America and start making the big bucks.  Before going any further though, I think we must first understand what is at stake here.

1.  No life.  First and for-most this task is going to require a ton of time.  Having already collected my first 18 days off a feature film shoot in Birmingham, Alabama, I'm now beginning to understand what that means.  It means getting to set at 5:30 AM, busting your ass for fifteen hours, going home at 9:00 at night, getting six hours of sleep, and the doing it all over again.  There's very little room in here for anything like your family, girlfriend/boyfriend, pets, friends, much less things that you probably do everyday like watch tv, go to the movies, or video games.  The only friends you'll are set friends.  And they're exactly that, set in your life for a few weeks at a time and gone when the show is over.

2.  Not much pay.  Anyone working any job could probably complain about this.  Piled on with the fact that working in the production industry means you have to stretch your check out in between jobs, it can sometimes make life really minimalistic, especially in these times.

3.  Unsteady future.  The film industry is glamourous and everyone wants a piece of it.  I mean, who doesn't want to wake up at 4 in the morning and be on set for the next 20 hours?!  I know I do!  Of course there's lots of competition over the same job, always will be, that's a no-brainer.  What's most unsettling right now is what's going on in the realm of distribution, ie: how everyone makes money so we can keep making films.   Movie theater attendance is way down and with so many fingers in the pie is getting hard to see who's to blame.  Maybe a new crew needs to take over the film industry.  The old guys seem to be running out of ideas.  That's what my generation is here to fix. 

And that's why these 582 more days are going to be worth it.

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